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Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Okinawa’s Revolt: Decades of Rape, Environmental Harm by U.S. Military Spur Residents to Rise Up

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    Nearly 70 years ago the United States took over the Japanese island of Okinawa after one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. More than 200,000 people died, mostly Japanese civilians. Today the United States operates 34 bases on the island and is planning to build a new state-of-the-art Marine base, despite mass protests. A multi-decade movement of Okinawa residents has pushed for ousting U.S. forces off the island, citing environmental concerns and sexual assaults by U.S. soldiers on local residents. Broadcasting from Tokyo, we are joined by two guests: Kozue Akibayashi, a professor and activist in Japan with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Women’s International Network Against Militarism; and John Junkerman, a documentary filmmaker currently working on a film about U.S. military bases in Okinawa.

  • Japan’s Peace Boat Journeys to Confront Buried Crimes of the Past & Build Ties for a Hopeful Future

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    In 1983, a group of Japanese students formed Peace Boat as a response to government censorship of history books regarding Japan’s past military aggression in the Asia Pacific. They chartered a ship to visit neighboring countries and build people-to-people exchanges. Three decades later, Peace Boat now operates a chartered passenger ship that travels the world on peace voyages. The group also organizes against the use of nuclear weapons, nuclear power and other forms of militarism. After the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the Peace Boat’s Disaster Relief Volunteer Center organized thousands of volunteers to help in the relief and rebuilding effort. Peace Boat founder Tatsuya Yoshioka joins us in Tokyo.

  • Japan Remains Hotbed of TPP Protest as U.S. Tries to Fast-Track Trade Deal, Crush Environmental Laws

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    Japan has been a hotbed of protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would establish a free-trade zone stretching from Japan to the United States to Chile, and encompass nearly 40 percent of the global economy. Now, new documents released by WikiLeaks show the White House may be ready to backtrack on a series of critical regulations in order to secure a deal on the trade pact, including legally binding requirements for pollution limits, logging standards, and a ban on the harvesting of shark fins. The draft version of the "environmental chapter" also reveals that the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations that are party to the TPP would rely on trade sanctions instead of fines if a country violates its obligations. The Sierra Club responded to the latest news saying that if the draft report were to be finalized, "President Obama’s environmental trade record would be worse than George W. Bush’s." Meanwhile, hearings begin today in Congress on legislation to establish fast-track authority that would allow Obama to sign the TPP before Congress votes on it. Broadcasting from Tokyo, we’re joined by Nobuhiko Suto, a former member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in Japan’s House of Representatives, where he was among the first legislators to point out the dangers of the TPP. He is the secretary-general of the group, Citizen’s Congress for Opposing the Transpacific Partnership. We’re also joined on the phone by Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch based in Washington, D.C.

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